The economic strength of the Greek upper classes rested on one simple fact: they controlled the land. All across ancient history, the well-to-do were masters in their states or cities and were more likely to derive their wealth from the ownership of land than from active participation in manufacture or even commerce. This emphasis on rural property remained true well into the nineteenth century after Christ. Not until the closing decades of that century and still more in our own age have economists come to judge that industrial, commercial, and financial sectors are the most important into which to deploy capital and to seek profits from.
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